Robben defends his actions

30 June 2014 01:01

Arjen Robben courted further World Cup controversy by insisting he was fouled for the penalty that led to Holland's last-gasp 2-1 win over Mexico, but apologised for diving earlier in the match.

The Dutch winger was accused by Mexico boss Miguel Herrera of committing three dives during the match in Fortaleza that saw Holland go through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

However Robben said in quotes attributed to Dutch television channel NOS: "The one at the end was a penalty, I was fouled.

"At the same time I have to apologise in the first half I took a dive and I really shouldn't do that.

"That was a stupid, stupid thing to do but sometimes you're expecting to be struck and then they pull their leg away at the last minute."

Herrera said Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca should have taken action against the Bayern Munich winger, who went down under a challenge by Mexico skipper Rafael Marquez in injury time.

He told a news conference: "Robben did three dives and he should have been cautioned. You should caution a guy who is trying to cheat and then if Robben did it again he would be sent off."

Herrera claimed Robben committed three dives, including for the decisive penalty, and criticised FIFA for appointing a referee from the same continent as Holland.

Holland won 2-1 in Fortaleza thanks to Klaas Jan Huntelaar's extra-time penalty, after Wesley Sneijder's 88th-minute volley had equalised Giovani Dos Santos' goal.

Herrera claimed Mexico had been victims of bad refereeing in their group matches against Cameroon and Croatia as well.

He told a news conference: "Out of the four matches here, in all of them the refereeing was disastrous.

"Robben did three dives and he should have been cautioned. You should caution a guy who is trying to cheat, and then if Robben did it again he would be sent off.

"And why did FIFA choose a referee from the same confederation as Holland instead of one from South America, Asia or Africa?

"The doubtful decisions were always against us. We have to say it in capital letters, in three matches we had horrible refereeing. The man with the whistle knocked us.

"I want the referee committee to take a look and that the referee goes home just like us."

Herrera also blasted organisers for making the teams play in the heat and humidity of a 1pm kick-off in Fortaleza.

He added: "What goes against football is to have to play in these conditions. The players were suffocated by the sun, heat and the humidity."

Holland boss Louis van Gaal admitted he used FIFA's new official cooling breaks - allowed during certain temperatures or humidity levels - to instruct his players on a change of tactics.

He said: "I moved to a 'plan B' and yes I did that in the cooling break but that's a clever way of benefiting from these breaks."

Van Gaal, who will become Manchester United manager after the tournament, paid tribute to substitute Huntelaar's coolness under pressure.

He added: "Everyone knows Klaas Jan Huntelaar takes penalties at Schalke and there had been a foul against Robben, and he asked Huntelaar if he wanted to take it.

"He doesn't need any encouragement and he's very cool and did an excellent job."

Van Gaal confirmed that Nigel de Jong was substituted early on in the match with a groin injury and his tournament may be over.

The substitution of Robin van Persie 15 minutes from the end was for tactical reasons however and he will be available for the quarter-finals.

Source: PA